Steve Krugman’s new book, The Craft & Art of Motorcycling from First Ride to the Road Ahead, is an amazingly comprehensive textbook in content. It is also a disarmingly imaginative book in presentation, so it doesn’t come across as a dry textbook. It deals with the serious subject of how to ride well-equipped motorcycles and scooters safely and strategically while presenting its excellent content in a relaxed, inviting way. To help achieve that, the talents of illustrator Benedicte Waryn were brought to bear throughout the book to make visual connections with the concepts much easier than would have been possible with text alone.
On their own, Waryn’s illustrations make Krugman’s book unconventional, yet there’s something more. Unlike some how-to-ride books, the approach in The Craft & Art of Motorcycling is not heavily influenced by track, touring, or adventure riding techniques. Krugman focuses on safe navigation on public streets and roads, stressing the importance of recognizing the difference between riding on public roads and Interstate highways and track or trail.
An excerpt: “Riders regularly get into trouble when they ride canyon roads like a track. Remember, the objective of track riding is to navigate a predictable environment as quickly as possible, whereas the objective of road riding is to navigate an unpredictable environment as safely as possible.”
Krugman is not a former motorcycle racer; instead, he is a seasoned motorcycle safety instructor who has taught thousands of people to be safe, competent riders. His students include Hollywood personalities, athletes, and beginning riders of all backgrounds. Indeed, actor Casey Affleck is one of his students and wrote the Foreword for The Craft & Art of Motorcycling.
Krugman begins with a short course on the physical properties and functions of motorcycles or scooters. The book is versatile, as Krugman compares and contrasts information between motorcycles and scooters. Each topic covered for motorcycles is also covered as it pertains to most scooters in boxed items called Scooter Notes.
His handling of some of the most daunting topics to new riders, such as manual clutch and gear change operations, is excellent. Krugman’s straightforward narrative, often backed up with Waryn’s novel illustrations, helps visualize some of the more complicated operational skills. Krugman helps the new rider understand how the mechanical parts of the bike or scooter work with each other to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction—and how to make those things happen smoothly and safely.
After covering the what and how of motorcycle and scooter operation skills, as well as the necessary riding gear, Krugman addresses the various road and load conditions. He discusses their effect on handling, braking, and riding strategies.
For emphasis on key points, The Craft & Art of Motorcycling features boxed sidebars entitled Motophor and Fear Response. They are devoted to improving rider strategic thinking and avoiding common mistakes in riding situational response.
For example, in Chapter Eight, “Turning and Cornering,” a Motophor advises, “Initiate, commit and follow through. Purpose means little without action, and action is aimless without purpose. On or off the motorcycle, this holds true.”
In the same chapter, a Scooter Note points out, “There is no ‘neutral’ on a scooter, so the transmission is always engaged. Instead of pulling in the clutch, simply roll off the throttle to ‘coast.’”
A Fear Response tells the reader, “Fear of leaning (falling) can cause a rider to shift body weight to the outside of a lean (instead of rocking to the inside) in a corner, effectively countering physics, fighting the bike, and reducing lean angle—defeating the purpose of body position.”
Emergency maneuvering is also covered to counteract reflex actions that could cause more problems with planned, purposeful responses.
For the completely uninitiated prospective motorcyclist or scooter rider, Steve Krugman’s The Craft & Art of Motorcycling from First Ride to the Road Ahead is a great book to consider required reading. But the truth is, even long-time riders can learn a few things from this unique resource. Clearly written and abundantly illustrated, it is fun to read while being deeply informative without getting the reader lost in technical detail.
The Craft & Art of Motorcycling from First Ride to the Road Ahead Fast Facts
- Author: Steve Krugman
- Illustrator: Benedicte Waryn
- Format: paperback, 176 8.5” x 10” pages; 100 color and black & white images and illustrations.
- Published: 2023
- Publisher: Motorbooks, Quarto Publishing Group
- ISBN: 978-0-7603-7920-2 (digital edition) Print: 978-0-7603-7919-6
The Craft & Art of Motorcycling from First Ride to the Road Ahead Price: $35 MSRP